Nashville Bar Owner Shares Journey to Quit Nicotine As Smoke-Free Ordinance Goes into Effect

Nashville Bar Owner Shares Journey to Quit Nicotine As Smoke-Free Ordinance Goes into Effect

With nearly 1 in 5 Tennessee residents smoking, city regulations take effect prohibiting indoor smoking and vaping in 21+ establishments.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 1, 2023) – More than 30 million adults nationwide still smoke, and nearly 70% of smokers want to quit. According to a recent study in JAMA Open Network, quit attempts among adult smokers in the U.S. decreased during the pandemic, making it a critical time for smokers to have access to proven-effective quit smoking resources to help. And with nearly 1 in 5 Tennessee residents smoking, and with new legislation taking effect to prohibit indoor smoking and vaping inside establishments meant for ages 21 and up, one Nashville resident is speaking out about his journey to quitting nicotine.

John Peet, the owner of Jane’s Hideaway, a restaurant, bar, and live music venue in East Nashville, quit smoking with support of The EX® Program from the national public health organization Truth Initiative® earlier this year.

“After losing a family member to lung cancer and witnessing a friend’s current battle with cancer, I wanted to make some positive changes for my mental and physical health,” stated John, who quit with support from the EX Program after smoking for more than 15 years. John’s quit journey is chronicled in a series of vlogs, which he hopes will help and inspire others like him to also quit smoking.

Indoor smoking culture in Nashville bars comes to an end

John was intimately familiar with the pervasive smoking culture in the Southern bar scene.

“Working in the Nashville restaurant and bar industry means I’m constantly surrounded by smoking and tobacco use,” John added. “It’s really hard to avoid triggering cravings when many of the people around you are smoking.”

Nashville’s new law, going into effect today, should change that. Though indoor smoking has been illegal in most Tennessee establishments since 2007, the law exempted some businesses restricted to ages 21 and up. Now, local governments have the power to regulate smoking and vaping in those venues, including Jane’s Hideaway.

“Working in a smoke-filled bar or music venue is not only dangerous to one’s health, but makes quitting nicotine that much harder,” noted Jamie Kent, Chair of Musicians for a Smokefree Nashville. “The road to our city’s new ordinance has been a long and winding one and was led by courageous musicians and hospitality workers like John, who advocated for smoke-free workplaces, and who now finally have the same workplace protection as nearly every other Nashvillian. Today is a victory for John and for all the musicians and hospitality workers in our community trying to quit. We hope that both John and Nashville inspire other people and places in Tennessee to do the same.”

Evidence-based support that helps people quit for good

Research-backed and proven-effective resources are critical to help people successfully quit smoking or vaping. It can take multiple attempts to quit tobacco, and while smokers may attempt to quit without help, support is critical and can improve opportunities for success. Evidence-based treatments recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General include text message interventions, internet-based interventions, and short- and long-acting forms of quit medication.

John took full advantage of EX Program offerings, particularly the support provided by the EX Community, the longest running online community dedicated to helping people quit smoking, vaping, and using smokeless tobacco.

EX Program is the only quit-tobacco program that combines the scientific leadership in digital tobacco solutions from Truth Initiative with a proven treatment model from Mayo Clinic. It is designed exclusively for employers and health plans and is available to more than 10 million individuals across the U.S. through strategic partnerships with organizations committed to helping their employees and members tackle tobacco addiction. EX Program qualifies as a reasonable alternative standard for employers and health plans that use a tobacco surcharge. Rigorous research funded by federal agencies for over a decade has shown that use of the EX Plan quadruples quit rates.

In one section of the EX Community forum, users post goodbye letters to cigarettes, tobacco, and nicotine. Inspired by these letters, John submitted one of his own. “It’s been 15 years of you being a constant pesky backseat driver,” he wrote. “My mouth deserves better than you, my lungs, heart, and future relationships don’t need you around.”

Learn more about EX Program at

More information about Truth Initiative can be found at

Human Resources Today